Hey @codethief, welcome to the Balena forums!
From what you mentioned it looks like your colleague’s board might have not been restored to 4.4.1. At least for now Balena does not overwrite the SPI flash for the Jetson Nano devices, that’s why the SPI contents have to be compatible with the L4T on the sd-card. Jetpack 4.5 is the first release that came with a spi flash release that’s not backwards compatible.
So, to answer @sali’s question and yours, it’s not necessary to write the entire Jetpack image before booting Balena, it’s enough to write the matching SPI flash. For this you would grab the 32.4.4 BSP Nano archive from here , unpack it and then use the flasher script:
cd Linux_for_Tegra && sudo ./flash.sh jetson-nano-qspi-sd mmcblk0p1
After flashing is completed, you can power off the device, swap the sd-card with the one that contains the BalenaOS image, connect an ethernet cable and boot the board. If you connect your HDMI cable and use a production image you should be able to see the BalenaOS logo, on the dev images you will have a hostOS console.